Tuesday, April 01, 2014

More Quick-Fix Vegan
Review and Giveaway

Ever since the publication of my first book, So, Now What Do I Eat? The Complete Guide to Vegetarian Convenience Foods, readers have thought of me as the Queen of Quick and Easy. And that's just fine by me, because when it comes to cooking, I'm all about quick and easy.

However, my diet has evolved over the years. I no longer rely heavily on transition foods: meat, butter, and cheese analogs, processed and prepackaged foods that are the ultimate in convenience. My preferences now lean towards more nourishing, healthful, whole foods. I love every second I spend in the kitchen preparing delicious, healthy meals. But the reality of life is that I spend the bulk of my working time outside the kitchen, and sometimes it's almost dinner time before I realize that it's time to make dinner! So on those all-too-frequent days, I look to tasty whole-food recipes that can be put together in a snap. In this regard, Robin Robertson has been a lifesaver. Her earlier book, Quick-Fix Vegan, which I reviewed back in 2011, has become an invaluable friend.

Robin's latest book, More Quick-Fix Vegan, delivers 150 flavorful new recipes that take no more than thirty minutes of hands-on time to prepare. I could not wait to dive in!

Although many of my friends often rave about Vietnamese banh-mi sandwiches, I have never tasted one. Flipping through the pages of More Quick-Fix Vegan, I noticed that Robin included a couple of intriguing variations, and the recipe for Banh-mi Bowls called out to me. Made with crunchy toasted croutons, homemade marinated tofu, crisp, fresh vegetables, and a rich sweet and spicy sauce, it sounded intriguing. The dish came together very quickly, and was so scrumptious, even my finicky husband approved. We loved this meal so much, I think you will, too, so make sure you scroll down to the end of this post, and grab the recipe!

The recipe for Red Kidney Bean Loaf with Barbecue Glaze piqued my curiosity. Red kidney beans are not at the top of my list of favorite beans, so I had to step outside my culinary comfort zone a bit to try this recipe. I'm so glad I did, because I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed this dish. While the loaf was baking, our home was filled with such a delicious aroma that we could hardly wait to dig in. I think that if the end result had been anything less than spectacular, we would have been disappointed. But our taste buds were very happy, because this dish is sensational. The red kidney beans gave this plant-based "meat" loaf a very unique and unexpected flavor.

At the supermarket the other day, I noticed the selection of Passover foods that had taken up residence on an endcap display. I looked longingly at the containers of coconut macaroons I adored as a child and looked forward to with great enthusiasm every year at this time. If not for the egg whites, Manischewitz Coconut Macaroons would actually be vegan. I did leave the store with quite a hankering for something coconutty like a macaroon. And then I discovered Robin's recipe for Piña Colada Balls in More Quick-Fix Vegan. I love the tropical taste of piña colada, and this recipe even has a dash of rum! It was so quick and easy to put together, and so sweetly delicious, I really had to restrain myself from overindulging. I have lovingly renamed this delectable recipe Passover Sex on the Beach.

Thoughtfully included within the pages of More Quick-Fix Vegan are recipes for making your own homemade "convenience" foods like vegan sour cream and baked marinated tofu. (Perfect for a convenience-and-whole-food-loving girl like me!) And there are four pages of metric conversions and equivalents, which, because of all the crazy package downsizing, I'm finding more and more useful all the time. Like all of Robin's books, More Quick-Fix Vegan is jam-packed with a bounty of delicious recipes that you will want to make over and over again. From scrumptious Mediterranean Tofu Scram-Bowls to elegant Cavatappi and Broccoli with Creamy Artichoke-Walnut Sauce to the adorably named My Thai Sundaes with Green Tea Syrup and Berry Fool-ish, the recipes in More Quick-Fix Vegan will be a wonderful addition to any foodie's cookbook collection.

And now's your chance to win your very own copy of More Quick-Fix Vegan ! I'm giving one away  to one lucky reader. To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment below, and follow the Rafflecopter prompts.* Your comment is the only mandatory entry requirement. To earn additional entries, you can also follow any of the other steps. May lady luck be shining down upon you, because I know you're going to love this book!

Reprinted with the kind permission of Andrews McMeel Publishing LLC, here is the recipe for Banh-Mi Bowls from More Quick-Fix Vegan by Robin Robertson ©2014:

4 (½-inch thick)slices Italian bread or 8 slices French baguette
1 large carrot, finely shredded
½ English cucumber
2 cups finely shredded cabbage (I used Napa)
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves (I omitted)
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 Tbsp neutral vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup minced scallions
1½ tsp grated fresh ginger
1 (8-oz) package baked tofu, cut into thin strips
3 Tbsp tamari soy sauce
3 Tbsp hoisin sauce
1 to 2 tsp sriracha sauce
1 tsp natural sugar
2 Tbsp rice vinegar

Preheat the broiler. Arrange the bread slices on a baking sheet and toast under the broiler on both sides, turning once. Remove from the oven and cut the toasted bread into 1-inch pieces. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the carrot, cucumber, cabbage, and cilantro. Drizzle on the sesame oil and toss gently to combine. Divide the vegetable mixture among serving bowls and set aside.

Heat the vegetable oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, scallions, and ginger and cook for 1 minute. Add the tofu and 1 tablespoon of the tamari and mix well to coat the tofu. Set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons tamari with the hoisin, sriracha, sugar, and vinegar, stirring well to blend. Arrange the reserved toasted bread on top of the vegetables in the bowls. Top with the tofu mixture and drizzle each bowl with the sauce.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Sorry international friends, this giveaway is open only to U.S. residents.  

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

The 30 Minute Vegan Soup's On!
Review and Giveaway

If you're a Hungry Vegan subscriber, then you know that I'm a huge fan Chef Mark Reinfeld's The 30 Minute Vegan series of books.  Every edition (The 30 Minute Vegan, The 30 Minute Vegan's Taste of the East, and The 30 Minute Vegan's Taste of Europe) is a winner, featuring recipes that are so layered in complexity of flavors, it's hard to believe they can be prepared in under an hour, let alone, thirty minutes. The latest installment is called Soup's On, and it's filled with more than 100 quick and easy recipes that will delight every palate. And we're not talking appetizer soups here. We're talking show-stopping dishes that are so nourishing, filling, and satisfying, you'll never think of soup as just the prelude to an entrée again. 

Along with a scrumptious variety of soups and stews, you'll find lots of delicious extras—from Herbed Bread Sticks to Red Pepper Coulis, Soup's On elevates the art of soup making to new culinary heights. While every soup and stew within the pages of Soup's On stands on its own, each recipe comes with suggested variations as well as the perfect accompaniments, so you don't have to guess how to put together an absolutely fabulous meal. Take for example, this sweet and spicy Brazilian Black Bean Soup with Baked Plantain.

Black beans make this sumptuous Latin treat nutritious and hearty. Maple-baked plantain and a bit of freshly squeezed orange juice add a touch of sweetness, and jalapeño and chipotle pepper add a zesty bite. Raw Cashew Crème fraîche counterbalances the heat, and Candied Pepitas add another lovely touch of sweetness and a bit of crunch. 

Mark's Asian-inspired Hot Pot with Soba Noodles, Seared Shiitake Mushrooms and Baby Bok Choy is a heavenly choice on a cold, wet, winter day. Broken down into three simple-to-prepare recipes for Baked Tofu, Seared Shiitake and Baby Bok Choy, and a savory noodle-and-vegetable-infused broth, you'll love how this dish comes together so easily. With clear and concise instructions, it's a breeze to flow from one step to the next, tackling more than one task at a time. While the noodles and broth are cooking, it's time to prepare the shiitake and bok choy. What a beautiful presentation, don't you think?

If you love the sweet, smoky flavor of BBQ, then this delectable down-home BBQ Tempeh and Roasted Corn Stew is right up your alley. I served it with Cosmic Double Corn Bread and topped it with toasted pepitas. Until toasting pepitas (aka pumpkin seeds), I hadn't realized I enjoyed them so much. Pumpkin seeds are a great source of vitamin E, protein, iron, magnesium, and zinc. And toasting them for less than 20 minutes ensures that they're cooked under the threshold for unwanted changes to the seeds' healthy fats.

With another wave of Arctic cold air whipping through this week and anticipated temperatures dipping down into the teens, I will surely be making this soul-satisfying Roasted Root Vegetable Soup again. Loaded with onions, carrots, fennel, parsnips, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes (I used yams), it's seasoned to perfection with just the right blend of herbs and balsamic. Topped with Tofu Feta, it's a Mediterranean feast in a bowl!

Everyone who knows me knows I'm cuckoo for coconut. Mark's Thai Coconut Soup with Lemongrass had me enjoying five-star Tom Kha in no time at all. Coconutty, rich, fragrant, and filled with all the yumminess you'd expect from this classic Thai dish.

The 30 Minute Vegan Soup's On will have you turning out tasty, filling, and hearty bowls of goodness in less time than it takes to order takeout. And your meals will be so much more delicious, nutritious, and satisfying than anything you'll find on a takeout menu. While we're still in the midst of winter's cold embrace, get your hands on a copy of this wonderful book. The recipe for Seared Shiitake and Baby Bok Choy alone, is worth the modest cover price. And if you enjoy slurping soup in the warmer months, you'll be covered, because there are lots of spring and summer soup recipes in Soup's On, too!

Update: Congratulations to Georgie Miller! She's the lucky winner of a copy of Soup's On! Georgie, please shoot me an email, to claim your prize. Thank you to all of my readers for all of your wonderful comments and for participating in the giveaway. Stay tuned for more fun to come!

Now, on to the giveaway: One lucky reader will win a copy Soup's On! For a chance to win, simply leave a comment below and tell me what your very favorite soup is.* (Please make sure to include your email address if I don’t already have it, so I can get your book to you!)

To earn additional entries, you can also do one or more of the following. Please leave a separate comment for each item you complete: 

1. Follow this blog.
2. Follow @vegangail on Twitter. 
3. Follow @veganfusion on Twitter.
4. Follow @mostvibrantlife on Twitter.
4. "Like" Vegan Fusion on Facebook.
5. “Like” Your Most Vibrant Life on Facebook. 
6. I’m tweeting to #win a copy of @veganfusion’s terrific new book Soup's On! Enter for your chance to win here: http://bit.ly/30MVSO #vegan 

Good luck!

*Sorry international friends, this giveaway is open only to U.S. residents.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Comfortably Yum
Review and Giveaway

What happens when a trailblazing vegan chef/entrepreneur and award-winning food columnist sets out to write her very first cookbook? Magic happens. Pure magic. Fans of Allison’s Gourmet vegan bakery, confectionary, and chocolaterie and Veganize It! column will be blown away by the recipes in Allison Rivers Samson’s gorgeous new ebook Comfortably Yum

Within its brightly colored pages, you’ll be treated to a collection of vegan comfort-food recipes that will transport you and your taste buds back in time. As a lucky taste tester, I had the privilege of getting a sneak peek of all the recipes, and with dishes like Magic Mac ‘n Cheese, Homestyle Veggie Pot Pie, and Open-Faced (Save the) Tuna Melts, I felt like a kid again, savoring (and reliving!) many of my most cherished childhood food memories.

A few of my friends have asked if I have a favorite recipe. But it’s impossible to choose just one, when every recipe is such an outta-the-park winner. However, given my insatiable sweet tooth, I wouldn’t mind being stranded on a remote desert island with Allison’s Chocolate Salted-Caramel Pudding Parfaits. Who doesn’t love chocolate pudding? This one is so velvety rich and chocolatey, it just melts in your mouth. And the salted-caramel pudding is the closest I’ve had to butterscotch in twenty-five years. (Yikes! I’m smacking my lips just thinking about it!)

 Photo: Nicole Axworthy from Comfortably Yum ©Allison Rivers Samson 

Each recipe is exquisitely photographed and will whet your appetite for all the deliciousness to come. (You can feast your eyes on all of the photos here.) And as though a kitchen angel had landed on your shoulder, Allison has included her Top Tips for Culinary Success in the Kitchen. These wonderful little pearls of wisdom will save you oodles of time and energy and ensure that you’ll have delicious success with all of your cooking and baking.

Allison's long-awaited first e-cookbook, Comfortably Yum, features 10 scrumptious recipes that will delight not only vegans, but omnivores, too. It will  make such a lovely gift for you or someone you love, and right now you can grab a copy for $5 off the regular price! If discovering 10 tantalizing gluten-free, whole-food, plant-based recipes that will win over even your most hard-to-please non-vegan friends isn’t enough to inspire you to grab a copy this very instant, perhaps knowing that you can do good while eating fabulously will. $3.00 of every purchase will be donated to Animal Place, a wonderful farmed animal sanctuary in Grass Valley, California.

Feeling lucky? I’m giving away a copy of Comfortably Yum to two readers!  Simply tell me which of the recipes you’re most excited to try in a comment below for a chance to win! (Please make sure to include your email address if I don’t already have it, so I can get your book to you!) 

Update: Congratulations to HilLesha and Terri Cole! You each won a copy of Comfortably Yum: 10 Whole-Foods Vegan Recipes for Everyday Yum! Please check soon for an email from Allison Rivers Samson! Thank you so much to everyone for taking part in the giveaway! 

Comfortably Yum: 10 Whole-Foods Vegan Recipes for Everyday Yum

Magic Mac ‘n Cheese
Open-Faced (Save the) Tuna Melts
Meltable American Cheese Slices
Homestyle Veggie Pot Pie
Clam-free Chowder
Vegan Egg Salad
Beet Burgers
Caesar Salad
Chocolate Salted-Caramel Pudding Parfaits 
Chocolate-Glazed Fudge Cupcakes

To earn additional entries, you may also do one or more of the following. Please leave a separate comment for each item you complete: 

1. Follow this blog.
2. Follow @vegangail on Twitter. 
3. Follow @allisonsgourmet on Twitter. 
4. Follow @yourmostvibrantlife on Twitter. 
4. "Like" Allison’s Gourmet on Facebook. 
5. “Like” Your Most Vibrant Life on Facebook. 
6. I’m tweeting to #win a copy of @AllisonsGourmet’s new ebook Comfortably Yum. You can win a copy too: http://bit.ly/cmftblyum #vegan #tunamelt

Happy holidays, and good luck!

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Great Vegan Bean Book
Review and Giveaway

Nutrition. Flavor. Value. Variety. Versatility. Sustainability. What's not to love about beans? Along with other legumes, beans have been harvested among the Earth's most ancient cultures for a very long time—as far back as the Bronze Age. But aside from baked beans, refried beans, and bean burritos, many of us really don't know beans about beans. And if you ask most people to list their top ten favorite foods, I would venture to guess that beans would not hold a spot on most lists. Take me, for example. I really do love lentils, I favor fava, I'm crazy about cannellini, and I'm goofy for garbanzos. But when it came to knowing about the amazing variety of beans and the multitude of ways they can be deliciously incorporated into just about every kind of recipe imaginable, well, what I knew about beans didn't amount to a hill of beans. 

Beans are inexpensive and packed with nutrients. They're low in fat, high in protein and fiber, and are a great source of B vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and antioxidents. Some beans are also a great source of other vitamins, like edamame, which has a whopping 30 mcg of vitamin K per quarter cup. Just about every culture is known for its own special bean dish, and according to perennialsolutions.org, beans are a perennial staple crop that can be harvested non-destructively. Like all legumes, they are one of the world's basic foodstuffs, and the harvesting of beans does not kill the plant nor prevent future harvests.

Kathy Hester's latest book, The Great Vegan Bean Book contains more than 100 delectable recipes that will revolutionize your relationship with beans. 

The recipes are broken out into type of dish, and you'll love the cute chapter titles like "Noshy Beans" and "Portable Beans." I wanted to try something completely different from my typical bean fare, which consisted mainly of black bean burritos and various kinds of dal, so I started with the recipe for Pineapple Rum Beans Over Coconut Lime Sweet Potatoes. The flavors were every bit as lusciously tropical as they sound! I'd show you my own photo, but it doesn't compare to Renée Comet's lovely image from the book:

From breakfast (oh yeah, I'm making those Enchanted Vanilla Pancakes!) to dessert (there's a little sneak peek below)—The Great Vegan Bean Book contains an enticing collection of recipes that will quickly elevate your opinion of the humble little bean.

As a side note, I  admit that I have come to rely a bit to heavily on canned beans. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But my friend Allison, has been telling me for years that there's nothing like the flavor, texture, and extra nutritional boost you get from cooking beans from scratch. And while I don't own a pressure cooker (Allison's preferred method, because they cook up in just 35 minutes!), I do own a slow cooker (thanks to falling in love with Kathy's first book, The Vegan Slow Cooker), so I followed the directions for slow-cooker beans at the beginning of The Great Vegan Bean Book and have been cooking up perfect beans every time! There are cooking instructions for every kind of bean imaginable—Rattlesnake beans? I had no idea! Nor had I ever heard of Barlotti, Apaloosa, or Goat's Eye beans! (Have you?)

I couldn't recall the last time I'd enjoyed beans as part of a dessert, so I couldn't wait to try Kathy's creative recipe for Vanilla and—my heart be still—Rose Water Parfaits. Sandwiched between bands of vanilla cookie crumbs, the lusciously creamy layers are made with lentils, tofu, and coconut milk yogurt (I used So Delicious, of course!) delicately flavored with vanilla and rose water. I improvised a little by mixing in tiers of strawberry sauce infused with Rose Petal Jam from Premrose Edibles. These parfaits would make such an exquisite finish to a special meal, an indulgent breakfast, or a delightful midday treat!

If you love beans and especially if you think you don't, get your hands on a copy of The Great Vegan Bean Book! Your taste buds will thank you, and your appreciation for one of nature's most perfect foods will soar. And if you'd like to win a copy, I'm giving one away. Here's all you need to do:

Update: Congratulations to Lizzie Bordello, the lucky winner of The Great Vegan Bean BookHuge thanks to everyone for participating in the giveaway! More fun reviews and giveaways to come, so please stay tuned ... Lizzie, please check your email inbox for a message from me on how to claim your prize. 

Leave a comment below telling me what your favorite bean dish is.* To increase your chances of winning this fabulous book, you can also do one or more of the following, and leave a separate comment for each item you complete:

1. Follow this blog.
5. Tweet the following message: I'm Tweeting to win a copy of Kathy Hester's The Great Vegan Bean Book via @vegiegail http://bit.ly/Gr8VegBean #vegan #recipes #book #giveaway

Good luck!

*Sorry international friends. This giveaway is open only to US residents.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Nut Butter Universe
Review and Giveaway

I am honored and proud to welcome back one of my very favorite vegan cookbook authors, Robin Robertson, with a guest post about her brand new book, Nut Butter Universe. Her latest contribution to making the world a more deliciously compassionate place contains a collection of tantalizing recipes.

I couldn't wait to dig into this book, and headed right for the luscious-looking recipe for Penne Primavera with Avocado Cashew Cream. It was, in a word, divine.

Every recipe in this book sounds incredibly enticing—from Walnut Butter Banana Bread to Peach Almond Butter Quesadillas, your mouth will water just from reading the Table of Contents. So without further ado, here's Robin:

Beyond the PB&J

Not long ago, the only nut butter sandwich around was the traditional PB&J made with peanut butter, grape jelly, and white bread. Did you know that before the age of 18, the average American child consumes 1,500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches?

But why settle for tradition, when you can put your own spin on the classic sandwich. These days, you can choose from over a dozen kinds of nut butters, paired with an orchard full of jams, jellies, preserves, and marmalades, and served on a wide variety of whole-grain breads. You can also get even more creative by adding another flavor layer to your sandwich filling by sprinkling your spreads with anything from dried or fresh fruits, to crushed nuts or chocolate, or even shredded carrots or cooked vegan bacon. Even Elvis got creative with his now-famous grilled peanut butter and banana sandwich (which he reportedly ate with a knife and fork.) 

Variations on a PB&J are, in fact, infinitely versatile when you consider that by combining a different variety of nut butter for the peanut butter, and a different flavor of jam, jelly, or preserves, combined with different “add-ons” as well as types of bread, you could potentially enjoy more than 32,130 different variations of America’s favorite sandwich.

The sandwich recipes in my new book, Nut Butter Universe, include:

·      My Favorite PB&J
·      Grilled Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich
·      Flower Power Almond Butter Sandwich
·      Walnut Butter Waldorf Wraps
·      Open-Face Peanut Butter and Tomato Broil
·      Chocolate-Hazelnut Paninis
·      Roasted Eggplant Pita with Garlicky Lemon-Almond Sauce
·      Peach-Almond Butter Quesadillas

And one of my personal favorites, these Thai Tofu-Vegetable Wraps...
Photo by Lori Maffei

Thai Tofu-Vegetable Wraps

Filled with baked tofu strips, crisp fresh vegetables, and a creamy, zesty sauce, these wraps make a yummy lunch or a light supper. You can add more vegetables, if you like. For an even quicker version, you can use a package of ready-made baked marinated tofu, although making it yourself is more economical. In place of tofu, you can substitute seitan or soy curls. To make them gluten-free, use gluten-free flatbreads.

8 ounces extra-firm tofu, cut into strips
2 tablespoons wheat-free tamari, divided
Salt and ground black pepper
3 tablespoons cashew butter
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 to 1 teaspoon natural sugar
1 teaspoon chili paste, or more to taste
1 cup shredded lettuce
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup bean sprouts (optional)
2 tablespoons finely minced red onion or scallion
2 lavash flatbreads or large flour tortillas

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or spray it with cooking spray. Arrange the tofu strips on the pan, drizzle them with 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bake until lightly browned, turning once about half- way through, about 20 minutes total. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
2. In a small bowl, combine the cashew butter, tamari, lime juice, sugar, and chili paste. Blend well.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the lettuce, carrot, bell pepper, bean sprouts, if using, and onion. Toss to combine.
4. Spread the cashew mixture onto each flatbread, dividing evenly. Top with the vegetable mixture, spreading on the lower third of each wrap. Top the vegetables on each flatbread with strips of the reserved tofu.
5. Roll up the sandwiches and use a serrated knife to cut them in half. Serve at once.
Serves 2

From Nut Butter Universe, by Robin Robertson. Copyright ©2013 Robin Robertson. Reprinted with the kind permission of the publisher, Vegan Heritage Press.

Update: Congratulations Billie Jean! You're the lucky winner! Please send me an email with your postal address, so I can send your book to you! Thank you everyone for participating! Stay tuned for more delicious fun to come! Giveaway: Almond butter, cashew butter, or good 'ol peanut butter? Simply leave a comment below telling me your favorite nut butter for a chance to win your very own copy of Nut Butter Universe.*

And to earn additional entries, you may do any or all of the following, and please leave a comment for each item you complete:

1. Follow Robin Robertson on Pinterest.
2. Follow @GlobalVegan on Twitter.
3. Follow this blog by clicking the "follow" link in the upper left-hand corner of this page, subscribing via email, or through Networked Blogs.
4. Follow @Vegiegail on Twitter.
5. Tweet the following message: Win a copy of @GlobalVegan's new book Nut Butter Universe: Easy #Vegan Recipes w/Out of This World Flavors! http://bit.ly/NutButU #giveaway

Please make sure I have a way to contact you if you're the lucky winner, (leave me your Twitter handle or email address or make sure it's linked to your blogger account.) Good luck!!!
*Sorry international friends. The giveaway is open to US residents only.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The 30-Minute Vegan's Taste of Europe
Book Review and Giveaway

I cannot believe it's been almost two months since I posted my last review! My little tumble at Sawyer Park in Bend, Oregon just before Thanksgiving and resulting broken wrist, surgery (complete with stainless steel screw!), and bruised/cracked rib made typing more than a wee bit challenging. But I'm on the mend (in my snazzy blue arm cast!) thanks in no small part to the love and nurturing I received from my dear friend, Judy Petullo. I don't know how I would have gotten through the initial trauma and first few days of pain and dis-ability without her warmth, caring, kindness, and hospitality. There are truly no words that can adequately express my deep feelings of gratitude.

I am delighted to get back to the joy of sharing my favorite new discoveries with you! (Although for awhile at least, my posts may still be few and far between.) This book review was pretty much in the can before my little walk in the park. I had prepared and tasted several of the recipes and had taken photos to share. So here I am drooling all over the photos and reliving the pleasure of eating these tasty dishes in my mind. (Chopping, slicing, dicing, lifting heavy trays, pots, or pans, and washing dishes are currently not within the scope of my abilities.) So without further ado, please allow me to introduce you to The 30 Minute Vegan's Taste of Europe: 150 Plant-Based Makeovers of Classics from France, Italy, Spain ... and Beyond! 

I'm a huge fan of Chef Mark Reinfeld and his The 30 Minute Vegan series of books. The recipes in The 30 Minute Vegan and The 30 Minute Vegan's Taste of the East are simple to prepare and taste amazing. Mark never fails to deliver no-fail recipes that inspire even the most hesitant home cook's creativity. His lastest gem, The 30 Minute Vegan's Taste of Europewhich features a collection of old-world recipes that are not always easy to veganize—like Moussaka, Bocadillos, and even Bouillabaisse, will surprise and delight readers with the complexity of flavors that can be achieved in so little time.

Feast your eyes on a few of the delectable dishes I prepared from the recipes found within the pages of The 30 Minute Vegan's Taste of Europe ...

Scottish Currant Scones, which I transformed into Cranberry Pistachio Coconut Nog Scones ...

Italian Tempeh Neatballs are seriously the best-tasting vegan meatball adaptation ever! (I just had to share the recipe below!)

So good I had them for lunch the next day with Mark's Roasted Tomato and Garlic Sauce.

Dating back to medieval Spain and Portugal, who doesn't love Empanadas? I served these tasty stiuffed-bared pockets with more Roasted Tomato and Garlic Sauce ...

Making cruelty-free French Faux Gras ...

A colorful and delectable fusion of flavors: Bruschetta with Faux Gras ...

You'll gain a whole new appreciation for paprika after your very first bite of this fabulous Hungarian Goulash ...

A sensuously sweet, yet light Spanish dessert, Vegan Flan, served with raspberries and a drizzle of caramel syrup ...

Tempeh Neatballs 
reprinted with the kind permission of the author and the publisher,
Da Capo Press. ©2012 by Mark Reinfeld 


2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
16 oz tempeh, diced finely
1/4 cup oat flour
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 Tbs wheat-free tamari or other soy sauce
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp minced fresh basil
2 Tbsp minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tsp minced fresh rosemary
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground fennel (optional)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Oil for sautéing
1 12-oz jar of your favorite pasta sauce or the Roasted Tomato and Garlic Sauce from The 30 Minute Vegan's Taste of Europe


1. Combine all the ingredients, except the oil for sautéing and the pasta sauce, in alarge bowl and mix well. Form into 10 equal-size balls (think golf ball size) and set aside.
2. Pour the oil into a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the tempeh balls and cook until slightly crispy and browned, about 7 minutes, gently flipping to ensure all sides are cooked.
3. Lower the heat to simmer, add the tomato sauce, and cook for 5 minutes, gently stirring, occasionally.  Serve over pasta or make your own tempeh neatball hero sandwich.


• You can also bake the tempeh balls. (This is how I prepared them.) Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place the balls on a well-oiled baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Gently flip and bake for an additional 10 minutes. If you wish, you can flip every 5 minutes, rolling the balls on a different side with each flip.

If you've been yearning for Yorkshire Pudding or craving kielbasa soup, The 30 Minute Vegan's Taste of Europe was written for you! It will also make the most wonderful holiday gift for your favorite foodie, vegan or not.

Update: Congratulations Kelly G! You are the lucky winner! Please email me with your postal address, so I can arrange to have your book sent to you. Thank you, everyone, for a fantastic giveaway! Stay tuned for the next one, and in the meantime, I'm wishing you all a very happy, healthy, and delicious New Year!

For a chance to win your very own copy, simply leave a comment below, and tell me your favorite European regional cuisine.* 

You can also earn additional entries: choose any or all of the following, and please leave a comment for each item you complete:

1. Like Vegan Fusion on Facebook.
2. Follow @veganfusion on Twitter.
3. Follow this blog by clicking the "follow" link in the upper left-hand corner of this page, subscribing via email, or through Networked Blogs.
4. Follow @Vegiegail on Twitter.
5. Tweet the following message: Win a copy of @veganfusion's The 30 Minute Vegan's Taste of Europe via @vegiegail 4 u or someone u ❤! http://bit.ly/30MinVE #vegan #giveaway

Please make sure I have a way to contact you when you win, (leave me your Twitter handle or email address or make sure it's linked to your blogger account.) Good luck!!!

*Sorry international friends. The giveaway is open to US residents only.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Forks Over Knives The Cookbook
Review and Giveaway

You've seen the hit film that has transformed thousands of lives, but have you checked out the beautiful companion cookbook jam-packed with more than 300 fabulously delicious health-supporting recipes? If not, you are in for a real treat! Forks Over Knives - The Cookbook: Over 300 Recipes for Plant-Based Eating All Through the Year lays to rest any doubt anyone may still have that low-fat, plant-based eating is not only the way to achieve and maintain vibrant health, energy, and ideal weight, and that plant foods are wholly satisfying, filling, and truly a celebration for the taste buds! Chef Del Sroufe (the man behind many of the mouthwatering dishes featured in the film), and contributors Julieanna Hever, Judy Micklewright, Darshana Thacker and vegan goddess, Isa Chandra Moskowitz, have created a compendium of globally inspired recipes that will keep your taste buds singing throughout the seasons!

When I first picked up the book, I gravitated to the three sections of color photos, featuring drool-worthy photos of dishes like Southwestern Mac and Cheese, Taco Salad with Cilantro-Lime Dressing, Eggplant Rollatini, Ponzu Noodles, and Lotsa Vegetable Chowder. (Warning: do not view these photos when you are hungry.) The book is very thoughtfully layout out according to the types of dishes I am always thinking about preparing, (should we have pasta or stew tonight?) While many (if not most) cookbooks divide recipes this way, the added sub-headings make zeroing in on the perfect recipe even easier. For example, under Pasta and Noodles, you can peruse just Pasta and Noodle Salads, Warm Pasta Dishes, and Warm Noodle Dishes, and under Breakfasts, you can look under Fruits and Smoothies, Granola and Muesli, Hot Cereals, and Hearty Breakfasts. This is such a timesaver when you have an idea what type of dish you're in the mood to make. And the metric conversion chart at the back of the book is an added time-saving gift.

I'm always on the hunt for great-tasting oil-free dressings, and the Autumn Mixed Greens Salad was a welcome discovery! With more a bountiful harvest of more than 50 pounds of sweet apples on our three-year-old tree, (we're not sure if they're Spartan, Jazz, Pink Lady or some kind of delicious hybrid), this was the perfect salad choice for me! The dressing is a delightful blend of fruity, sweet, tart, and spicy flavors. (Recipe below!)

Thai Vegetable Soup was a real surprise. Sweet, spicy, and sultry, just like your favorite Thai Restaurant's Thom Kha Gai. But it's made with coconut water instead of canned coconut milk (I used my favorite, Real Coconut Water), so it's rich and delicious but leaves out the super high fat and calories!

As promised, following is the recipe for Autumn Mixed Greens Salad from Forks Over Knives - The Cookbook: Over 300 Recipes for Plant-Based Eating All Through the Year reprinted with the kind permission of the publisher, The Experiment, copyright ©Del Sroufe 2012. I hope you love this dish every bit as much as I do!

Autumn Mixed Greens Salad

MAKE THIS SALAD when your favorite apples are in season. Honey crisp and Gala apples contrast well with the tart cranberry vinaigrette. Cut the apples just before serving to maintain their color, or store them in water with a little lemon juice if you need to prepare them ahead of time. Serve this dish as is for a light lunch or with Pumpkin and Anasazi Bean Stew (page 120) for a heartier meal.


¼ cup brown rice syrup
Zest and juice of 1 orange
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 
3 tablespoons fruit-sweetened dried cranberries, reconstituted in 6 tablespoons boiling water, plus 3 additional tablespoons dried cranberries 
Pinch cayenne pepper 
6 cups mixed salad greens 
½ cup pecan halves, toasted (see page 10), optional 
2 crisp apples, peeled, cored, and cut into ½-inch dice

1. Blend the brown rice syrup, orange zest and juice, balsamic vinegar, mustard, cayenne pepper, and the reconstituted cranberries in a blender until smooth. Set aside.

2. Add the salad greens to a large bowl with pecans (if using), apples, and remaining dried cranberries. Just before serving, add the dressing to the bowl and toss well.

I cannot wait to sink my teeth into all of the toothsome recipes in this book, and I'm planning on buying many copies to give away as gifts this holiday season. Don't even think twice about adding this wonderful book to your own cookbook collection. Like me, you will be excited to to dig into its bounty of delicious vegan recipes.

Update: Congratulations to MarkTwain (@martielou)! You are the lucky winner! Please shoot me an email with your snail mail address to claim your prize. Thank you everyone for your readership and devotion. Stay tuned for another great giveaway coming soon!

And now for the giveaway: You can win a copy Forks Over Knives - The Cookbook right here and now! Simply leave me a comment below telling me which chapter you'd dig into first.* Here's the Table of Contents (with a teaser for each):

Basics (No-Cheese Sauce)
Breakfasts (Breakfast Rancheros)
Salads (Spicy Asian Quinoa Salad)
Soups (Curried Squash and Apple Soup)
Stews and Chilies (White Bean Stew with Saffron and Basil)
Wraps and Spreads (Samosa Lettuce Wraps)
Pasta and Noodles (Penne with Spinach Béchamel)
Stir-fried, Grilled and Hashed Vegetables (Mixed Winter Vegetables with Spicy Poppy Seed Sauce)
Stuffed and Baked Vegetables (Wild Rice-Stuffed Cabbage Rolls)
The Amazing Bean (Mujadara {Lentils with Rice and Caramelized Onions})
Great Grains (Sweet and Sour "Meatball" Stir-Fry)
Casseroles (Moussaka)
Desserts (Pumpkin Bread Pudding) 

To earn additional entries, you can do any or all of the following, and please leave a comment for each item you complete:

1. Like Forks Over Knives on Facebook.
2. Follow @ForksOverKnives on Twitter.
3. Follow this blog by clicking the "follow" link in the upper left-hand corner of this page, subscribing via email, or through Networked Blogs.
4. Follow @Vegiegail on Twitter.
5. Tweet the following message: Win a copy of @ForksOverKnives Cookbook w/300+ delectable health-supporting #vegan recipes 4 u or some1 u ❤! http://bit.ly/RiKn3d #giveaway

Please make sure I have a way to contact you when you win, (leave me your Twitter handle or email address or make sure it's linked to your blogger account.) Good luck!!!

*Sorry international friends. The giveaway is open to US residents only.